With Facebook Ads, libraries can reach digital collection users who may never step in to the branch.

Imagine launching a marketing campaign around your community that’s so successful it reaches 110,000 people, receiving 1.5 million views in less than two months. Now imagine making contact with all those potential users without ever leaving your desk. Stop imagining, because not only is this possible, but with Facebook Ads, it’s both affordable and easy to get started.

Over the past two months, OverDrive has worked with East Baton Rouge Parish Library (EBRPL) to create a Facebook Ad campaign, and the Louisiana library has allowed me to share this case study. The campaign officially began Jan. 19, when the ad went live on Facebook. While EBRPL already has a great connection with users through its Facebook page, before the campaign started, Facebook wasn’t even among the top 50 websites directing patrons to the library’s OverDrive-powered collection. Now Facebook ranks among the top 10 referrers.

How does it work?
Facebook Ads enable you to target very specific users, letting you decide who sees your advertisement. The demographics not only let you breakdown viewership by age, location and education, but you can also select specific interests that Facebook users have stated they enjoy. For example, you can choose to target people from ages 18-65 within a 50-mile radius of your city who enjoy traveling and reading. This specificity will assure you that the people seeing your advertisement are the ones truly interested in your collection! Best of all, Facebook’s step-by-step guide shows you exactly how many people you’ll be targeting as you begin to narrow your scope.

What does it cost?
Facebook gives you two different options for pricing. You can pay a “cost per click” fee, which only charges you when someone actually clicks on your advertisement; or you can pay a “cost per impression” fee, which charges for every 1,000 views your ad receives.  On average, EBRPL’s campaign has cost $4.16 per day and has generated 30,000 views per day.

Does it work?
During the campaign period, EBRPL has seen an increase in checkouts—but that isn’t the only way to measure success. It’s important to remember that half of all users of your digital collection might never step foot into a library; you have to market to them where they are. Additionally, on average, each of the 110,000 users targeted in this campaign have seen the advertisement 10 or more times each. Marketing research tells us that a person needs to see or hear an ad at least three times before they remember it, and the more often they see an ad, the better. This means that even if a potential user doesn’t click on the advertisement initially, the odds of them returning for more information later are great.

The numbers don’t lie. Attracting 1.5 million views in less than two months for less money per day than most of us spend on a latte is an excellent value. Physical advertisements are great, but you’d be hard pressed to find a location to put up posters that would generate this attention.

OverDrive will provide more information about social marketing in a forthcoming update to our Community Outreach training, but if you’d like help getting started with a Facebook Ad campaign in the meantime, contact librarypartnerservices@overdrive.com.

Adam Sockel is a Marketing & Outreach Specialist for OverDrive.

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